Ballots were mailed Tuesday to more than 5,700 registered voters living in a proposed taxing district that would help extend Kansas City’s downtown streetcar route south to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The mail-in ballots must be notarized and returned to the Jackson County Circuit Court by 5 p.m. Aug. 1.
The notarization is a state law requirement, and ballots are notarized free of charge by any public notary.
People are being asked to vote on whether to form a transportation development district that would be the first step to funding streetcar expansion south of downtown.
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This election is not sponsored by the mayor and City Council. Instead, it was prompted by a petition filed by 50 residents seeking to expand the downtown streetcar system, which now runs from the River Market to Union Station.
The expansion would take the streetcar 3.75 miles farther south on Main Street to 51st Street and Brookside Boulevard, near the UMKC campus.
The proposed district extends generally from the Missouri River to 53rd Street and from State Line Road to Campbell Street. The ballots are being mailed to 5,752 registered voters within those boundaries who followed the application process established by the Jackson County Court. Voters can access a map of the proposed taxing district online.
The streetcar expansion proposal involves an unusual mail-in election that is approved and overseen by the Jackson County Circuit Court. Anyone who followed the proper application procedure but doesn’t receive a ballot in the mail by June 26 can contact the court at 816-881-6671.
If voters approve the streetcar district’s creation, that’s not the end of the process. An election this fall would select the district’s directors. That election would occur at various polling places and would be open to all registered voters within the boundaries.
There would then be a third election, this one again by mail with new ballot applications. It would occur in early 2018, seeking voter approval for the actual property and sales taxes required to help pay for the streetcar expansion, which is estimated to cost about $227 million.